Toxinology deals with cases of envenoming or poisoning from animals, particularly snakebite, spiderbite, related arthropod bites and stings and marine envenoming and poisoning. The Toxinology Department was formed in 1990, though its origins go back to the 1970's. This is currently the only toxinology department in any Australian hospital, though there are a number of doctors with clinical toxinology expertise in other hospitals. Most have received training through the WCH Toxinology Department.
The Department provides a consultant clinical toxinology service to doctors, hospitals, poisons information centres and antivenom producers nationwide.
Continuing education is a vital part of the Department’s functions, with regular lectures to medical students, medical graduates, nurses and other health professionals, particularly those attending the University of Adelaide, University of South Australia and Flinders University. The Department, in conjunction with the University of Adelaide, runs a Clinical Toxinology Short Course every two years. This internationally recognised course is the only one of its type and attracts doctors and other health professionals from around the world.
Research interests include clinical aspects of bites and stings, especially snakebite and spiderbite, as well as basic research into venoms.
How to access the service
Medical advice for doctors can be sought by contacting the duty clinical toxinologist (Assoc Prof Julian White, Unit Head or Assoc Prof Scott Weinstein) at the WCH (+61-8-81617000; fax +61-8-81618024; email).
Emergency cases are seen through the Emergency Departments of major hospitals, while less urgent cases are seen after discussion with the treating doctor.
A doctor's referral is needed to access the service.
The department has created a comprehensive website for clinical toxinology which covers animals worldwide (http://www.toxinology.com).
Information for families
If you believe your child has suffered envenoming following a bite or sting, you should seek medical attention, either through your local doctor or through your nearest appropriate emergency department. In either case the doctor may choose to contact the Toxinology Department for advice.
The major toxinology resource is the Clinical Toxinology Resources Website (http://www.toxinology.com).
For information on exotic venomous snakes in Australian zoos, visit the new Zoobase site (http://zoobase.toxinology.net) .
The Department hosts the official website for the International Society on Toxinology (http://www.toxinology.org).
The Department has been involved in numerous publications on toxinology, from papers in scientific journals, to textbook chapters, whole textbooks and management protocols. The CSL Antivenom Handbook is available through our major website.
The Department runs training courses on clinical toxinology, information about which is available on the IST website.
Doctors can seek consultant clinical toxinology advice at any time, via the WCH switchboard.
Medical advice for doctors can be sought by contacting the clinical toxinologist (Assoc Prof Julian White, Unit Head or Assoc Prof Scott Weinstein) at the WCH (+61-8-81617000; fax +61-8-81618024; email). Refer to "How to access the service".
Assoc Prof Julian White, M.B., B.S., M.D., F.A.C.T.M.
(08) 8161 7000
(08) 8161 8024
last modified: 27 Oct 2014